Coconut water quenching investors’ thirst for gains

Vita Coco, once limited to health food stores, aims for the mainstream.

Vita Coco stock

Singdhi Sokpo

“Vita Coco, like many great adventures, began in a bar.”

The line — a ray of light in a dense 218-page 2021 IPO filing — comes from the Vita Coco Co. co-founder (“coco-founder”?) Mike Kirban, who explains how the idea for Vita Coco was planted.

  • Kirban and friend Ira Liran met two Brazilian women at a bar in 2003.
  • In brief, Liran married one of them and moved to Brazil. Kirban visited Liran, Liran had Kirban drink a coconut, and Kirban liked it; the duo admired coconut water’s popularity in Brazil, said something like, “Let’s do this in America,” and, for brevity’s sake, boom.

Cracking open revenue streams

The $1.5B Vita Coco brand now holds 50%+ of the US coconut water market, according to Food Dive, with net sales up 13% last year to $427.8m, and its stock up 90%+ since that 2021 IPO.

The company now hopes to follow Ocean Spray’s playbook, leaning in to its potential as a cocktail mixer to expand its presence in bars, restaurants, clubs, and — through a canned cocktail partnership with Captain Morgan — liquor aisles.

Vita Coco is already shelling out strong growth stats:

  • The company says it’s already in 11% of US homes.
  • Relative Google search interest in coconut water is nearing all-time highs.
  • The brand has nearly as many TikTok followers as Coca-Cola — with even more likes.

BTW: Growing up dyslexic, Kirban’s teachers once told him he wouldn’t get a job if he couldn’t read. As he wrote in Vita Coco’s IPO filing, “If only my teachers could see me now!”

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